Stroke patient 'took overdose before dying'
Published 23/08/2011 | 05:00
A HOSPITAL patient took an overdose after a nurse inadvertently left a tub of tablets close to his bed, an inquest heard yesterday.
Noel Martin (62) was admitted to St James's Hospital in Dublin on June 22 last year following a stroke. On August 20, Mr Martin -- who had a history of diabetes and heart problems -- took between 40 and 60 ibuprofen tablets after a nurse left a container at the end of the bedside table after giving him two prescribed tablets for pain relief.
Mr Martin, who had spent five months in hospital following a previous stroke in 2009, had been informed of his prognosis for recovery earlier that day.
Nurse Sarah Murray returned to her station to start writing patient notes after giving him two tablets.
Minutes later she noted Mr Martin had pink saliva coming from the side of his mouth.
She then noticed that the tub, which she had previously closed, was open. She asked the patient if he had taken the tablets, and he told her that he had.
Mr Martin, of Mount Drummond, Harold's Cross, Dublin 6, developed a gastric bleed following the overdose and his anti-clotting medication was stopped, Dublin City Coroner's Court heard.
He suffered a further, more severe stroke three days later and died on September 14.
Recording a narrative verdict, the coroner Dr Brian Farrell said the cause of death was aspiration pneumonia, complicating a previous stroke.
Speaking from the body of the court, Mr Martin's daughter Sinead said the family felt if he had not taken the tablets, he would still have had a stroke.